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in almost exiled seclusion, employ his chisel on a single block of marble; but that marble has survived the wreck of empires, and still commands the admiration of the refined of all countries. Let the practical philosophy of these facts be engraved upon the heart of every right-minded Teacher, and it will sweeten his toil, and add fresh attractions to every successive year of his increasingly skilful and efficient labours.


Extracts from the Chief Superintendent's Circular to Local Superintendents, dated
August, 1850.

I. The Local Inspection of Schools.

"To perform this duty with any degree of efficiency, a local Superintendent should be acquainted with the best modes of teaching every department of an English school, and be able to explain and exemplify them. It is, of course, the local Superintendent's duty to witness the modes of teaching adopted by the teacher, but he should do something more. He should, some part of the time, be an actor as well as spectator. To do so he must keep pace with the progress of the science of teaching. Every man who has to do with schools, ought to make himself master of the best modes of conducting them in all the details of arrangement, instruction and discipline. A man commits a wrong against teachers, against children, and against the interests of school education, who seeks the office of local Superintendent without being qualified and able to fulfil all its functions. In respect to the manner of performing the visitorial part of your duties, I have nothing material to add to the suggestions which I made in my circular to local Superintendents of Schools in December, 1846. They are as follows:

"Your own inspectson of the schools must be chiefly relied upon as the basis of your judgment, and the source of your information, as to the character and methods of school instruction, discipline, management, accomodation, &c. : and on this subject, we ought not to content ourselves with exterior and general facts. But it is

not of less importance to know the interior regime of the schools-the aptitude, the zeal, the deportment of the teachers-their relations with the pupils, the trustees and the neighbourhood—the progress and attainments of the pupils, and, in a word, the whole moral and social character and results of the instruction given, as far as can be ascertained. Such information cannot be acquired from reports and statistical tables; it can only be obtained by special visits, and by personal conversation and observationby an examination of the several classes in their different branches of study; so as to enable you to ascertain the degree and efficiency of the instruction imparted.

"In the inspection of schools, I would suggest something like the following order and subjects of inquiry and examination:

"1. Mechanical Arrangements.-The tenure of the property; the materials, dimensions and plan of the building; its condition; when erected; with what funds built; neighbourhood; how lighted, warmed, and ventilated; if any class-rooms are provided for the separate instruction of part of the children; if there is a lobby or closet, for hats cloaks, bonnets, book presses, &c.; how the desks and seats are arranged and constructed, and with what conveniences; what arrangements for the Teacher; what play-ground is provided; what gymnastic apparatus, if any; whether there be a well and proper conveniences for private purposes.

"II. Means of Instruction.-The books used in the several classes, under the heads

Reading, Arithmetic, Geography, &c. ; the apparatus provided, as Tablets, Maps, Globes, Black-boards, Models, Cabinets, &c.

"III. Organization.-Arrangement of classes; whether each child is taught by the same teacher; if any assistant or assistants are employed, to what extent, how remunerated, and how qualified.

"IV. Discipline.-Hours of attendance; usual age of pupils ;-If the pupils change places in their several classes, or whether they are marked at each lesson, or exercise, according to the relative merit; if distinction depends on intellectual proficiency or on a mixed estimate of intellectual proficiency and moral conduct, or on moral conduct only; what rewards, if any; whether corporal punishments are employed-[See No. 10, on page 103]-if so, their nature, and whether inflicted publicly or privately; what other punishments are used; whether attendance is regular; is school opened and closed with reading and prayer as provided in the regulations, and what religious instruction is given, if any.

"V. Method of Instruction.-Whether mutual or simultaneous, or individual or mixed; if mutual, the number of monitors, of what attainments, how appointed, how employed; if simultaneous, that is, by classes, to what subjects of instruction: whether the simultaneous method is not more or less mingled with individual teaching, and on what subjects; to what extent the intellectual, or the mere rote method is pursued, and on what subjects; how far the interrogative method only is used; whether the suggestive method is employed; whether the elliptical method is resorted to; how the attainments in the lessons are variously tested-by individual oral interrogation—by requiring written answers to written questions-or by requiring an abstract of the lessons to be written from memory.

"VI. Attainments of Pupils.-1. In Reading; whether they can read with ordinary facility, or with ease or expression. 2. In Writing; whether they can write with ordinary correctness, or with ease and elegance. 2. In Arithmetic; whether acquainted with Notation and Numeration, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, and skilful in them; whether acquainted with the Tables of Moneys, Weights, Measures, and skilful in them; whether acquainted with the compound rules, and skilful in them; whether acquainted with the higher rules, and skilful in them; whether acquainted with the exercises in mental arithmetic, and skilful in them. 4. In Grammar; whether acquainted with its divisions, rules of orthography, parts of speech, their nature and modifications, parsing, composition, &c. 5. Geography, History, Book-keeping, Vocal Music, &c.; the order of questions suggested by the nature of the subject. The extent and degree of minuteness with which the inspection will be prosecuted, in respect to any or all of the foregoing and kindred subjects, must, of course, depend on


"VII. Miscellaneous.-How many pupils have been sent to the Grammar School; whether a Visitor's Book and Register be kept as required; is the Journal of Education regularly received by the Trustees; are the Quarterly Examinations regularly held ; are Prizes given in the School. Library.-Is a Library maintained in the Section; number of volumes taken out during the year; are books covered and labelled as required; are books kept in library case; is catalogue kept for reference by applicants; are fines duly collected, and books kept in good order; are library regulations observed."

II. Annual School Lectures.

Another most important duty required of each local Superintendent is, " To deliver in each School Section, at least once a year, a public lecture on some subject connected with the objects, principles, and means of practical education." The education of a free people is, to a great extent, a system of voluntary exertion. There



may be a good school law, and there may be a large school fund; and yet education may decline. The onward progress of the education of a country does not depend, primarily or chiefly, upon a school fund or school law, but upon the spirit and action of the people; and the great object of public school lectures is, to awaken that spirit and arouse this action. The law requires that a voice should be lifted up on this subject in every School Section in Upper Canada; the commanding authority of that voice will depend upon the ability, the industry, the heart, of each local Superintendent. No man ought to aspire to the office, or retain it a week, who has not the heart and ability to prepare and deliver public lectures in a spirit and manner worthy, in a good degree, of a cause interwoven with every vital interest of our country's civilization and happiness. We cannot be too strongly impressed with the fact, that the administration of the school system is not like that of any other department of the public service-a vigilant and effective oversight of the execution of the law, the protection and development of the country's resources; the due administration of the school system-and indeed, properly speaking, the great object of it, besides the ordinary administration of the law-is to excite and maintain, as widely and in as high a degree as possible, among all classes of the community, a correct appreciation of the nature and importance of popular education, and a spirit of intelligence, philanthropy and patriotism in the adoption of the diversified means necessary for the attainment of that end. From the office of the Chief Superintendent, down to the desk of the humblest teacher, a moral influence, an energy, a vitality should be sent forth in behalf of the education of youth and the diffusion of useful knowledge among the people. If the right spirit glow in the bosom of every Superintendent, it will appear in every public lecture, in every school visit, on every proper occasion in the intercourse of private and public life, and the results will soon be manifest in every municipality of Upper Canada. On the other hand, great must be the responsibility, and deep the disgrace, of any Superintendent, who shall suffer the interests of schools to droop and die, or linger in a sickly condition, under his oversight.

III. Spirit of the Law in regard to the Office of Superintendent.

It remains with each incumbent to say whether the spirit and intentions of the law shall be fulfilled within his jurisdiction, as far as depends on the performance of the duties of his office. The act has been passed by the Legislature in the spirit of generous nationality: the spirit of patriotism prevailed over the selfishuess of party during the parliamentary deliberation on this subject. The Government duly appreciated the wants and interests of the whole country, in the preparation of the measure, and all parties in the Legislature cordially responded to it. In the same non-party and national spirit, I hope to see the law administered. In a "Digest of the Common School system of the State of New York," published in 1844, by the Deputy, under the auspices of the State Superintendent of Schools, I find the following remarks, which I commend to your serious attention:

"As the usefulness of Local Superintendents will depend mainly on the influence they shall be able to exercise upon the officers and teachers of schools, and upon parents and the inhabitants of districts generally, they will endeavour to deserve that influence by their deportment, and studiously to avoid everything which may impair it. Hence it will be indispensable that they should abstain wholly and absolutely from all interference in any local divisions, or in any questions by which the community in any town or district may be agitated; and although they cannot be expected to abandon their political sentiments, yet it is obvious that any participation in measures to promote the success of any political party, will not only diminish their influence and impair their usefulness, by exciting suspicion of the objects of their movements and measures, but will expose the



office they hold to a vindictive hostility, that will not cease until it is abolished. The intelligence of our people will not tolerate the idea of the agents of public instruction becoming the emissaries of partizan management."

The conviction expressed in the concluding sentences of this quotation has been painfully realized. As party politics ran high, it was found that the appointments of Local Superintendents were made, to a considerable extent, in the spirit of political partizanship, and the influence of the office was frequently employed for partizan purposes. A clamour was soon raised against the office itself, which resulted in its abolition in 1847. Great efforts have been subsequently made, by the State Superintendent and other experienced educationists, to restore the office of County (but not of Township) Superintendent, and place it on a better footing than heretofore. These facts are admonitory. A man's qualifications, irrespective of sect or party, should influence his appointment to the office; but when once appointed, and during his continuance in office, he should act in the spirit of impartiality and kindness towards all persuasions and parties. This has been the avowal of the Government, and the sense of the Legislature in regard to the office and duties of the Chief Superintendent; and I think it was equally understood and intended, that no tinge of partizanship should attach to the supervision of schools, even in the remotest township of the Province. The spirit of the vow made by the Prussian School Counsellor Dinter, should imbue the heart of every school officer in Upper Canada:-"I promised God that I would look upon every Prussian peasant child as a being who could complain of me before God, if I did not provide him the best education, as a man and a Christian, which it was possible for me to provide."


(By Thomas J. Robertson, Esq., A. M., Head Master of the Normal School, Toronto, and formerly Head Inspector of National Schools in Ireland.)

The legitimate end of school inspection is to obtain the most thorough information possible on all points connected with the school, and as the essential quality of a school is the instruction of the pupils in the departments of education, the first and principal point in the inspection of schools is a careful enquiry into the amount and quality of that instruc tion. In addition to this, there is a variety of other matters to be attended to. All the statistics of the school should be carefully examined into, such as the number of pupils on the books at the date of inspection, the highest number belonging to the school during the previous six months, the average attendance during that period or since the foregoing visit, the numbers learning the different branches, the fees, free school, &c. The state of the house and furniture also should be looked to, particularly with reference to repair and neatness, the supply of requisites and school apparatus noted, and the deficiencies accurately ascertained; and the description of books in use by the children examined, in order to prevent the introduction of any of an improper character, and to encourage a sufficient supply of those authorised by law. Too much pains also cannot be bestowed on the character and qualifications of the Teacher; these matters were of course attended to before his appointment; still, at every visit of a Superintendent, they should be taken note of, as a Teacher may fall into habits of immorality or neglect highly prejudicial to his school, or may omit to use the requisite exertion for his own improvement. A Superintendent should also watch closely the demeanour and bearing of the pupils in the school with the view of ascertaining the mode of control adopted by the Teacher, whether it is merely harshness, with its attendant slavish fear and sullen submission, or goodhumoured firmness, with its concomitant, willing obedience. Such particulars will aid

him in forming a just estimate of the attention paid to the moral training of the pupils, for which purpose he should also see them at their sports, if possible.

Of the necessity of a careful inspection of schools no reasonable doubt can be entertained, were it only on the ground that the conduct of all who receive the public money should be in some shape or other open to enquiry and inspection. The most advantageous method of conducting this enquiry can, I think be pointed out in a few words :— the Superintendent, at each visit, should examine all the classes in every department of education in which they may be receiving instruction. Of these examinations he should keep careful notes to enable him to compare the result of each with that of the preceding.

These notes should have reference to all the details connected with the school, but more especially to the number of pupils engaged in the different branches of study, and their proficiency in each. By this means the Superintendent will be enabled to form a tolerably accurate estimate of the progress of the school in all essential particulars.

In forming such an estimate, however, various particulars should be taken into account-such as the general backwardness or otherwise of the locality, the previous habits of the children, and above all, the regularity or irregularity of the attendance; all of which have a direct influence on the advancement of the school. Perhaps the most active of these is the nature of the attendance, and a few observations thereon may not be deemed irrelevant.

There are very many circumstances materially affecting the attendance of pupils at Common Schools. In some places the labor of the children is so valuable on the farm or in the house, that they cannot be spared; occasionally insufficient clothing is the alleged excuse; but in most instances the real cause is the apathy of the parents, which is such as to render them altogether indifferent to the subject. This is unhappily too frequently the case; and this feeling is usually the immediate cause of that irregularity of attendance, which so frequently obstructs the progress of rural schools, and renders it so difficult for an Inspector to form a just estimate of that progress.

It will often occur, that, of twelve children present in a certain class at one examination, only one-third will be found at the following, though the class may be greatly increased in numbers. Under such circumstances, of course, a Superintendent can form little or no judgment of the improvement of that class, the majority being pupils whom he has not before examined; and he will have to consult the records of the school to ascertain the number on whose answering he may depend to enable him to form a comparative estimate. Indeed, it will be found useful in every instance, before commencing the examinatian of a class, to scrutinize the School Register, and observe how far the different individuals of the class have attended regularly or otherwise. If the Superintendent do not possess some information on this point, he can scarcely fail to do injustice to the Teacher, who is accountable for the improvement of the scholars, but whose efforts must necessarily be materially impeded by the irregularity alluded to. It is the more requisite also to attend to this particular, as inefficient and careless Teachers perpetually quote the defect in question as a cause for the backwardness of their pupils.

In conducting the literary examination, great care and attention are requisite. A mere series of questions on the particular subject under consideration is by no means all that is necessary. The duty of a Local Superintendent is not merely to ascertain the acquirements and improvement of the pupils, but to afford information to the Teacher on every point connected with the management of his school; and one of the most important of these points is the mode of teaching.

And here I may mention the two particulars on which the well-being of a school may

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